Web Serial: Augmented Insomnia –  Chapter 4 “Level Up!”

wp-image--919713992.

 

Blade. Blade. Blade. Parry. Blade. Blade. Clash.

Blade. Blade. Shield. Blade. Shield. Shield. Dodge.

Matt quickly took a deep breath as he prepared himself for his next move.

Shield. Thrust. Chop. Chop. Shield. Chop. Swing. Chop. Blood.

Chop. Blood. Scream. Chop. Disarm. Stab. Thrust. Gurgle. Blood. Twist. Pull. Thud.

Matt selected Loot Body. A screen displayed showing the content of his fallen opponent’s sack of supplies.

Jackpot.

Matt would likely never get used to the idea of the mixed gaming genre known as SciFan.

Grenades? A Laser Pistol? In a Fantasy world?

Technology mixed with magic just seemed a little weird to him, but at the same time he’d seen some pretty sweet weapons being used by higher level players. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on one of those Magical Anti-Gravity Guns that increase the target’s gravity. The results are devastating: crushes men, vehicles and buildings with ease, leaving nothing behind but rubble and blood.

The magic of the gun stems from the infamous Hammer of the Gods spell. The only downside of the weapon is that firepower exhausts a large quantity of the user’s Mana. An unskilled player would likely expend all of their resources, resulting in the death of their avatar. There are the occasional suicide bombers who give up all they have to destroy a city… but these are the rare techies who have bypassed the energy feed limiters just to experience the thrill of it. Apparently it creates a euphoric high when your avatar dies in such an explosion.

What ever happened to good old-fashioned drugs?

Matt dug through his fallen opponent’s bag of loot, taking any weapon or spell he could find. He pulled out a curious-looking hourglass with ancient runes carved all over it. It was then that @doomsday16 arrived after defeating his own opponent.

“What ya got there?”

“I dunno.” Matt studied the beautiful carvings, “Looks like an ancient artifact. Do you think it’s worth something?”

“I doubt it.” he scoffed, “I’ve learned that most things in the game that aren’t obviously a weapon are items that have been infused with some freaky dark magic. I’d stay the hell away from it, if I were you.”

But Matt felt drawn to the curious artifact, “Thanks for the advice, but I think I’ll keep it.”

“Suit yourself. It’s your funeral.” he shook his head in disapproval, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Matt ignored him, and tucked the hourglass away in his inventory sack. He then pulled up his stats to see if the raid had gained him any points.

Disappointed at the meager results, Matt followed @doomsday16 as they cut a path through the thick forest. Fortunately he had looted a sword from a fallen opponent during another recent raid and had ditched his pitiful spear, which would have been useless in cutting down these thick brambles. He also now had a breastplate that he had plundered, despite the fact that it looked rather odd with his loincloth.

“How far are we from the City?” Matt asked as he chopped away at the path.

“It will likely take a few days on foot.”

“Dang, that’s a long time.”

“Unless we can tame a dragon to fly us there,” @doomsday16 scoffed, “then I don’t see any faster way…”

Suddenly his friend stopped short and held a finger to his lips. They stood in silence for several minutes as both of them scanned their surroundings. It was dead silent, and Matt couldn’t understand his friend’s hesitation.

Then his eyes darted as he heard a shuffling sound to his right. Slowly, he raised his sword and shield as anxiety prickled on the back of his bare neck.

An inhuman screech erupted from a black mass that barreled toward him, knocking him into the sharp brambles. The pain from the thorns felt real, and Matt cowered behind his shield and swung his sword wildly in the air. He felt a sticky tentacle grab his leg and drag him forcefully through the sharp brambles at a tremendous speed. Matt could see @doomsday16 chasing but falling far behind in his pursuit, casting a myriad of spells and enchantments.

One of the spells struck the beast, stunning it momentarily. Matt took his chance, and swung at the black tentacle that had wrapped around his leg. The severed remains of the tentacle retracted into the black mass that resembled a land-bound squid, with hundreds of mouths gnashing their teeth. Matt made no hesitation, thrusting his sword deep into the heart of the nasty creature.

Dozens of sticky black tentacles wrapped themselves around Matt has he held on to the hilt of the blade, thrusting it deeper and deeper with all of his strength. The tentacles threatened to crush him, and the mouths threatened to rip his bare skin to shreds with their razor-sharp teeth.

One of the many mouths got ahold of his shoulder, and Matt screamed out in excruciating pain. He twisted the hilt and forced the blade in every direction he could muster, willing it to kill the gruesome beast. At last, the tentacles relaxed and the mouth released its hold. The beast shuddered several times as Matt held his stance. Finally, the dozens of tentacles fell and appeared to melt as they hit the ground. The giant mass of creature seeped into a messy puddle of a tar-like substance, staining his blade.

@doomsday16 arrived, panting from his sprint.

“You…” he spoke between breaths, “You did it!”

Matt stared at the mess of black goo at their feet and took several deep breaths to calm himself. He was surprised by how realistic the dark beast had appeared with its many tentacles and large gnashing teeth. But even more surprising were the voices inside his head threatening to consume his soul. Had he not obtained the sword and breastplate, he doubted he would have survived the attack by the loathsome creature.

“I sure as hell hope we don’t run into another one of those things!” he panted.

“You’d better get used to it.” @doomsday16 laughed, “Those nasty beasts are crawling around everywhere.”

***

It was nearing midnight in the real world, and Matt was caving fast. Regardless of the stamina his avatar had earned, Matt’s real body was starting to lose the ability to go on.

“Hey Price, how much farther do you want to go before calling it quits?” Matt asked, exhausted.

@doomsday16 ignored him and continued to forge ahead.

“Price?” Matt asked again, “Hello?”

“Are you talking to me?” @doomsday16 turned around to face him.

The avatar’s eyes were closed.

“Oh…” the realization struck him, “You’re not Price, are you?”

“No.” the avatar spoke gruffly, “Now stop following me or I’ll make mincemeat out of your naked Neanderthal @$$.”

Matt backed away carefully and struck off on a new path.

Why would Price just take off without telling me?

Matt was troubled by this new development, and was extremely tired from the lack of sleep from the night before. He pressed his right temple and was about to log out, when he remembered that he had silenced all of his communication channels.

He activated the virtual keyboard and logged into his communication channel. As expected, there were three voicemails, 26 messages, and an email from Tiffany.

I’ll deal with those later…

Buried in the messages he found three from Price:

All three messages had been sent an hour ago.

Great.

He glanced at his character sheet again.

Sighing at his minimal progress, he hit the Log Out button on his virtual screen.

He hesitated as his finger hovered over the Log Out button, remembering he didn’t have a place to stay tonight.

I doubt Derek would answer his phone this late…

He realized that he’d have to stay the night in a hotel.

Jeez! I don’t have a car…

Slowly his finger hovered over to the right. The entire concept went against his conscious, but after seeing the dismal stats on his character sheet…

What the hell. One night can’t hurt.

Chapter 5 is coming next Saturday!


Augmented Insomnia is a prequel to The SciFan™ Universe Series, which takes place about 10 years prior to the first installment, Conquest (GET IT HERE FOR FREE), which is soon coming to Audible! Check out this Book Trailer featuring a sample narration by bestselling narrator Andrea Emmes:

Here’s the blurb:

A primeval darkness threatens to destroy mankind…

The world’s largest gaming platform in the entire industry is led by a man with many secrets. The popular game DarkForce features the World of Zion which has been plagued by the destructive will of the Leviathan for centuries. What gamers don’t know is that the World of Zion actually exists, and the Leviathan has fed off of the souls of men and his fodder has become scarce. He now turns to Earth with an insatiable hunger. Only a woman from Earth who levels up to discover a divine inner power can challenge Earth’s Apocalyptic Fate.

You can follow him:

Website/Blog: http://www.Aleric-Elos.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/AlericElos

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/AlericElos

Advertisements

An Open Letter to the SciFan™ Community

“We are SciFan.” Those are the words that first intrigued me about the merging of science fiction and fantasy known as science fantasy. It was late 2016 and I had stumbled upon the science fantasy community. I saw posts from Richard Mulder and other admins and learned more about science fantasy as a whole. I learned Richard had trademarked the SciFan logo he designed. I approached him in December 2016 about SciFan™ Magazine and the rest is history.

We are now 8 (soon to be 9) issues into SciFan™ Magazine and we find ourselves at a crossroad. To continue the Magazine, for which we have an extreme passion for, or shut it down.

You see, the purpose SciFan™ Magazine is and always has been about the authors. It has been about giving authors who might never have gotten a platform a shot to reach readers on the largest potential market in the world – Amazon and to reward them with a (for now) token amount of money for temporary publication rights. At the same time, it has been about giving readers the highest quality content from the pool of submissions. We’ve accomplished these two goals in the following ways:

  1. From the start, we implemented the SciFan™ Magazine Submission Review Team. A group of 8 authors, bloggers, and readers who volunteered their valuable time to read a great many submissions. The idea was that a multitude of opinions on the quality of submissions would ensure the highest quality work was chosen for publication in the Magazine.
  2. We have always paid authors who submit short stories to the Magazine and are accepted. Our pay has increased significantly since we began this endeavor but we still have a long way to go (more on this later).
  3. We publish each issue on Amazon in both print and digital format. This helps us potentially reach the largest pool of readers possible.

Now for the reason behind writing this letter. Now we talk about the challenges SciFan™ Magazine faces:

  1. Our volunteers – Every reader on the Review Team is a volunteer. We have had past reviewers who left due to real life obligations and other reasons and new ones replace them over the months. With every passing day, we regret not having the financial means to reward the volunteers who are so crucial to the production process.
  2. Our authors – Every author, whether we accept their submissions or not, matters. They pour their sweat, blood, and tears into their short stories and put themselves out there on the chance we will accept them. We have made strides in increasing the token amount we pay these authors, but we still have a long way to go. $40 for a 10,000-word short story is just not enough incentive to authors. That’s the feedback we’ve heard and it’s a sentiment we 100% agree with. It should be higher. But again, we don’t have the funds.
  3. Amazon sales – Amazon sales have been extremely poor (3 print and 10 e-book sales for the 8th issue, 1 and 2 for issue 7). Although Amazon is the largest market we have struggled to reach readers. Perhaps readers don’t like anthologies, perhaps our covers need reworking, perhaps we need to pay more for advertising. Whatever the reason, the fact is we are not making “big bank” from  Magazine sales and this impacts our ability to address point 1 and 2 (pay our volunteers and pay authors more) because we are pulling not from profits but from our own personal funds.

So you may be asking, “what can I do?” Here is how you, whether author, reader, blogger or good Samaritan, can help keep SciFan™ Magazine not just alive but flourishing.

  1. Donate to the Magazine through PayPal. Every DOLLAR goes to the following:
    1. Paying our volunteers. 60% of every dollar received through donations goes into a pool split amongst the Submission Review Team volunteers each month.
    2. Paying our authors. 40% of every dollar received through donations goes toward paying authors for submissions we accept. As donations exceed the amount we pay authors in total we will increase the amount we pay per word.
  2. Become a Patron through Patreon. Donate any amount to the Magazine on a monthly basis. EVERY donation received through Patreon goes toward the goal of paying the hardworking authors who submit the Magazine more money.
  3. Purchase the Magazine on Amazon. One of the simplest (and cheapest) things you can do to support the Magazine is buying and reading the Magazine each month. Support these hard-working authors by purchasing each issue, reading the stories that interest you and then connecting with the authors. Give them feedback. Tell them you love their story or a particular element of it. Authors love to know their work is being read. Purchases on Amazon also boost our ranking on Amazon, which increases discoverability. Profit from the Magazine goes toward advertising and production costs.
  4. Buy a T-Shirt to help support our cause. These shirts are only available for an extremely limited time, and come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. 100% of these donations will go toward marketing efforts to bring awareness to SciFan™ Magazine.

TLDR: We are not asking for pity. We are asking for donations and support from the SciFan™ community to continue making SciFan™ Magazine, a magazine dedicated to our authors and readers first and foremost, a success for years to come.

Best regards,

Dayne Edmondson, co-producer

My Audiobook will be Narrated by Andrea Emmes @aemmes!

I am extremely excited to announce that the Audible version of Conquest will be narrated by the extremely talented Andrea Emmes!

Conquest_Audiobook.png

Andrea is an Audible Best Selling Narrator! Her most notable narrations include Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. She started her career performing in musical theater while growing up on the East Coast. This lead to a successful career as a stage performer working for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Renaissance Cruises and eventually head lining on the Las Vegas Strip. Having worked in TV, film and video games, Andrea, a total bibliophile, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California. Known as “The Girl with a Thousand Voices”, her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.

AndreaAnd to boot, Andrea is a total gamer chick! With her Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design, for several years she worked at Disney Interactive as a game designer. Nowadays she still gets her inner gamer geek on by playing MMORPG games of all kinds with her husband and their cat, Lucy.

A bit more fun trivia: Andrea also has a side career as an actress. You can check out what movies she has been in on IMDb.

You can follow her at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.emmes.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aemmes
Website: http://www.andreaemmes.com/

I am very excited to be partnering with Andrea for our anticipated Audible version release. We anticipate that it will be released in September 2017, but I will keep you posted!

#SciFan and #LitRPG Genre Tour

FB_IMG_1484206985125

Welcome to the fairgrounds for the SciFan and LitRPG Genre Tour for B2B CyCon 2017! SciFan Magazine is proud to host this Genre Tour, and are excited to announce the release of two special issues:

SciFan Magazine April 2017 – LitRPG Edition

Screenshot_2017-04-06-09-11-19-1

SciFan Magazine April 2017 – Science Fantasy Edition

Screenshot_2017-04-06-09-11-14-1

We also have several amazing Authors for you to meet and a selection of over 50+ novels for you to choose from in our expansive library! Go check them out now!

ReaderLibrary.png

After you finish browsing our library, check out our Adventure Quest trivia game where you can learn about several of our amazing author’s stories. When you complete the quiz, don’t forget to add your email so that you can receive an exclusive copy of our B2B CyCon Edition of SciFan™ Magazine after the event on Monday April 9th!

scifanvault2.png

B2B CyCon is also hosting Cover Wars for SciFan & LitRPG!

coverwars.png

And don’t forget to join us LIVE at the following venues and times:

Friday, April 7th:
Hosted in the “Science Fantasy Society” group located at http://www.facebook.com/groups/SciFanSociety

2:00 PM to Midnight EST

Saturday, April 8th:
Hosted in the “LitRPG Society” group located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1064527556978838

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST

Sunday, April 9th:
Hosted in the “Science Fiction, Fantasy and other genres: learning to promote effectively” group located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1132459036786385

10:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST

Thank you for exploring our Genre Tour! You can return to the Brain to Books Cyber Convention and visit other genre tours by clicking here.